Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running in the Dirt - Circle G

The last weekend of October saw the Stump Kids and myself drive up to the dirt of Circle G Arena in Lewisburg, Ohio, for a trial directed by the Dayton Dog Training Club. This was LaMesa's first run on dirt--she's been to Circle G before, but she hasn't competed there. So I wasn't sure how she would handle the atmosphere.

It shouldn't surprise me anymore that not much in the atmosphere can faze LaMesa when it comes to her doing agility with me--she loves it, and she's so focused on me that she doesn't have the time to sniff the ground. Now, if there's a moment where the judge might make a noise when we're pausing (like in Hamilton), that's another story.

LaMesa's runs were very educational, yet again. She gets herself very worked up and excited before our run, so I learned after our first run on Saturday that I need to time taking her out of her crate to closer to when we run, if that's possible. Halfway through our first run she looked tired, which then caused her to run by jumps and knock bars. In Standard, I did better with taking her out closer to our run, but still an NQ due to too many little problems.

Dally and I had a few goals to accomplish going into the weekend--QQ (which would be #6), that sixth QQ would equal qualification for the AKC National Agility Championships, and earn our 10th Q in Excellent B Jumpers for her Masters in Jumpers With Weaves (MJP). I'm excited to say we accomplished all three goals on Saturday! It felt great when Dally jumped the last jump in JWW, yet the Small Dog Posse was quiet, mostly because we were the last run of the entire show and no one knew we were running. Talk about uncertainty--usually when I celebrate and the rest of the crew is quiet it's because I messed up somewhere and went off course (it's happened before, so I know from experience). Thankfully, we were clean for QQ #6, MJP, and an NAC qualification. (Standard run video / Jumpers run video)

With those three goals accomplished, I wanted to focus more on LaMesa and try to earn our first Q in Open (in Standard or Jumpers). She's been having problems hitting her weave entrances the first time, so I was hoping we could nail that in Jumpers. She ran a great course--nailed some send-outs and 180s. When she nailed the weave entrance the first time, I got excited and clapped which caused her to jump out to run with me--bad mom. The second and third tries saw her popping out towards the end--not sure why (but a lot of dogs did in that course in both Open and Excellent), so we didn't get our weaves, for an automatic NQ. I was happier with that run, though, because she ran well. Her Standard course finally saw our first Open Q, which was a gift due to a few circumstances. The third obstacle was supposed to be the weaves, but I had to call her off the A-frame and she took the off-course--then when I called her off the A-frame, she tumbled down and slid on her face. I paused to see if she was alright, but she wanted to run so I let her. She missed her weaves the first time, but I brought her back and she nailed them the second time. The rest of the run was clean, and apparently fast enough to stay under standard course time. Upon checking the scores, thinking we ate too much time with the tumble, I was surprised to see that she Qd, and was the only 12-inch dog to Q! A nice little gift.

Dally qualified in Excellent Standard on Sunday, but just as I was starting to feel confident about going in for QQs on the line, she brought me back to reality and reminded me that she was also in control by popping out of the weaves in jumpers. (The Excellent JWW course started off just like the Open JWW for the first 12 obstacles.) For some reason, a lot of dogs were popping out of the weaves in JWW.

So, it was an up and down weekend. We have one day at Queen City this coming weekend (Nov. 12), and then we head to North Carolina for a big weekend--the Swedish Vallhund National Specialty is being held in Concord, N.C., in conjunction with a four-day agility trial (it's N.C.'s version of the Louisville Cluster). Thursday is the SV-supported agility entry, but all four days the local Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club is doing something special for Pembrokes. Where else can I go where both of my breeds are being supported?? I'm excited to see other SVs run and maybe get some training tips from other SC handlers.